Bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego have invented a self-healing hydrogel that binds quickly, as easily as Velcro, and forms a bond strong enough to withstand repeated stretching. Computer simulations of the gel network helped them discover the key to its properties: the length of side chain molecules, or fingers.
Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory and collaborators, using sophisticated cryo-electron microscopy and imaging techniques, have deciphered the molecular-level details of the complex choreography by which intricate cellular proteins recognize and bind to DNA to start the replication process.
Shortly after the destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japanese officials considered the evacuation of nearly 36 million residents of the Tokyo area, a decision that reflected the lack of treatments for mass contamination. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are developing an alternative that can be taken as a form of pill.
There are two major challenges when it comes to imaging proteins: the first is to create the right sized protein crystals, and the second is to irradiate them in such a way that they do not disintegrate. Researchers in Sweden have found a way to image small protein samples using free-electron lasers. The short-pulse light works with small, easy to make crystals.
Medications that target the brain must overcome numerous hurdles, as it is a very difficult organ for drugs to access. The limitation made a promising anti-anxiety drug difficult to administer, until researchers were able to visualize the path taken by this drug, neuropeptide S, if it were delivered through a mucus membrane, such as that in the nose.
Researchers in the past have assumed that because there are only four genes governing the body’s detection of temperatures, only four heat-sensitive channels exist. Recent work now shows that proteins can have dozens of the heat-sensitive ion channels, which are pores in the cell membranes.
Using a new model to explain how mammalian cells establish the sense of direction necessary to move, researchers at the University of Texas have predicted how bacteria like Escherichia coli that cause food poisoning can hijack a cell’s sense of direction. They then confirmed those predictions in living cells.
A new method for creating nanofibers, developed by researchers at Polytechnic Institute of New York University, relies on the previously unknown ability for alpha helical coiled-coil proteins to spontaneously come together and self-assemble into nanofibers. The protein’s ability to carry molecules suggests the discovery could be important in drug delivery efforts.
For the past decade, scientists have been developing cancer treatments based on RNA interference, which shuts off malfunctioning genes with short snippets of DNA. Delivering the RNA, however, has been a problem. The solution at Paula Hammond’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology laboratory is to pack the RNA into microspheres so dense they reach their destination intact.
A multinational team of scientists has developed a process for creating glass-based, inorganic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that produce light in the ultraviolet range. If successfully integrated into biomedical devices, these would be the first robust, cheap to produce, and chemically stable LEDs to operate in the medically-useful UV spectrum.
Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Advanced Light Source have discovered the crystal structure of a critical control element within chaperonin, the protein complex responsible for the correct folding of other proteins. Incorrect and misfolding proteins have been linked to many diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Scientists at RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Japan, with help from colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, have invented a polymer film loaded with antibodies that can capture tumor cells. This could be an important diagnostic tool because during metastasis cancerous tumor cells float around the bloodstream, nearly impossible to detect.
Providing new information about the little-understood evolution of the diversity of sizes and shapes in nature is a recent study identifying genetic differences between two closely related species of Nasonia wasps. Digging deeply, the research team identified the chromosomal location of “wing size” gene, the differences in DNA sequences of the genes, and the regulatory controls that govern the genes.
Carbon nanoparticles can be coated to make them attach to cancer cells, but getting them in the correct position can be difficult. A research team in Texas has magnetized nanoparticles so that they can be moved with a magnetic field. Administered using fiber optics, the method is non-destructive to healthy cells and carbon nanoparticles also fluoresce.
“Rolling” is a common mechanism cells use to navigate through the body. White blood cells, for example, roll along a blood vessel’s walls to reach inflamed areas. A team of biotechnology experts have invented a microfluidic device that uses this natural cell-rolling mechanism to sort cells. The device features tiny channels coated with sticky molecules that bind weakly with certain cells, forcing them to roll into a different spot.
A new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that the rapid rise in low-wage manufacturing industries overseas has had a significant impact on the United States. The disappearance of U.S. manufacturing jobs frequently leaves workers unemployed for years, if not permanently, while creating a drag on local economies and raising the amount of taxpayer-borne social insurance necessary to keep workers and their families afloat.
The new Thermo Scientific Universal Latch Rack is designed for use with 2 mL and 5 mL Thermo Scientific Nunc Cryobank tubes as well as most standard Thermo Scientific Nunc and Nalgene cryogenic tubes. The new rack incorporates a highly flexible lid, which can pivot or be lifted off, making it suitable for handheld pipetting or automated dispensing.
The TRR 61 project has been keeping about 150 scientists in Germany and China busy since 2008. The goal is to understand how large natural systems, such as biorganisms are assembled from numerous diverse small molecular structures. The first papers from the first stage of the project, which looks at self-assembly mechanisms, have recently been published.
Sandia National Laboratories researchers, using off-the-shelf equipment in a chemistry laboratory, have been working on ways to improve amputees' control over prosthetics with direct help from their own nervous systems.
A North Carolina State University chemist has found a way to give DNA-based computing better control over logic operations. His work could lead to interfacing DNA-based computing with traditional silicon-based computing.
German scientists have developed a new way to make a key malaria drug that they say could easily quadruple production and drop the price significantly, increasing the availability of treatment for a disease that kills hundreds of thousands every year.
The general rule of thumb is that most new businesses fail. But the incubator model is beginning to change those statistics for companies who seek the right kind of help.
As integrated circuits and environmentally friendly technologies emerged, R&D 100 Award winners set the pace.
Studies of bacteria first found in Yellowstone's hot springs are furthering efforts at the U.S. Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center toward commercially viable ethanol production from crops such as switchgrass.
Biosensors used in medical diagnostics are typically very specific, detecting within a fixed dynamic ranges. Researchers recently designed a new type of biosensor that copies nature’s approach, which is to employ many different sensors all looking for a common target over a wide range.